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Ganja Farm In Jamaica


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The Sunday Gleaner reporter was told to park his vehicle by the postal agency and wait by the all-age school where he would meet his contact.

He was posing as a Jamaican living in The British Virgin Islands (BVI) representing a wealthy, prospected investor, who had sent him to Jamaica to get a first-hand view of the drug-for-gun trade between Jamaica and Haiti.

The understanding was that if the visitor from The BVI arrived late, the deal would be off. He was told not to ask any questions, neither should he appear too curious about anything that he saw.

As the undercover reporter approached the rendezvous point, he paused for a while to compose himself, knowing that if his real identity was revealed it could be his demise.

His contact, who was waiting, made a call on his cellular phone on the approach of the undercover reporter. Without saying a word, they walked through the school yard and to the back of the premises where they took a trail that was not visible until they were about a metre or two away.

We started on a trek that took us along the hillside overlooking the small farming village in rural Jamaica. After walking for about 15 km we were met by a young woman dressed in jeans and hard boots, she looked me over suspiciously while greeting my contact then turned and went ahead of us.

After we had travelled for about two more miles uphill she started to communicate on a portable radio, I soon realised that I was at my destination, a ganja farm which is allegedly an integral part of the ganja-for-guns trade between Jamaica and Haiti.

Three women and a little child stood by the entrance of a covered area with what appeared to be water cans in their hands watching us as we passed. There were about 25 large plastic wash tubs covered with coconut limbs in that area, There were another 30 of the same containers on the floor; however these were not covered and contained some young ganja plants.

The nursery

This area I would later learn was the nursery. To the right of that structure about seven men were seen preparing about five acres of land for the young plants in the nursery; some were removing rocks and other debris while the others were digging holes. I was told that five of them were Haitians.

Jacques, a Haitian was supervising them. He was sent to Jamaica to oversee the operations on behalf of the stakeholders in the trade from his homeland. I was also told that two of the women and the child by the nursery were members of his family. He did not acknowledge my presence, but continued talking to the men who were working.

As high as five feet

Next to the land being prepared was another five acres of ganja some grown as high as five feet tall. A portion of the weed was being cut down by men employed from the village, and being hung to dry in another covered area.

There was another large covered area, where dried plants were being removed from the ceiling and placed in an area where a group of women were picking the leaves from the plant.

An unpainted concrete house was among some mango trees to the extreme left of the property; behind the house was the dining area, built from log and right beyond that area were pens with goats, pigs and a few cattle; a chicken coop was to the side of the house. The barracks for the workers were made of ply board and were about 100 metres from the main house.

The young woman who met us earlier, as we entered the main house, was seated around a high frequency radio, she was listening keenly while switching from channel to channel. The door to an adjoining room was padlocked and a sign marked 'Do Not Enter'.

Two men sat around a table in the well-kept room smoking ganja spliffs, the younger of the two offered me a seat. He was well spoken and told me that formalities were not necessary. After looking me over for about ten seconds he began to explain the day-to-day operations. The farm, he said, employs thirty six labourers, which included fifteen locals and nineteen Haitians. He explained that the Haitians are better workers and gave 100 per cent in what they were told to do; eleven of the Haitians had received work permits which he claimed he bought. The operation was well funded an he entertained me, he was not desperate for a new investor.

He said that similar to Jacques' presence on the farm, there was also a Jamaican eye and ears in Haiti to ensure that their Caribbean neighbours lived up to their bargain. He explained that the Haitians were as cunning as Jamaicans, and there was not a lot of trust between them.

On their payroll

He claimed that a few members of the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) Coast Guard were on their payroll, but chose not to work with members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), as being an ex-member he knew they could not be trusted. He, however, had a few contacts among members of the elite squad from whom he bought information.

He explained that there is now a constant supply of the drug, as they were now purchasing from the local ganja farmers to ensure that supply meets the high demand. He closed the conversation as abruptly as he had started it, stating that anything else he would tell me wouldbe something that I need to know and as far as he is concerned there was nothing else I needed to know.

I then left the hills.

Source: Jamaica Gleaner News
Copyright: [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]1997-2007 Gleaner Company Ltd.[/FONT]
Website: Jamaica Gleaner News Online - Monday | February 26, 2007
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